lavender goat cheese cheesecakes

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

Before these little cheesecakes, my cheesecake experience was solely and shamelessly limited to this — the seven-ingredient recipe on the back of the Philadelphia cream cheese box.  It was five ingredients if you bought the Keebler crust in its own ready-to-go tin, which my college self definitely did, it was easy, and it was good; sometimes I swirled blueberry jam or pumpkin pie filling (the recipe from the Libby’s pumpkin can, naturally) into it and felt fancy even though the pumpkin burned faster than the cheesecake could cook.

I always assumed that at some point I’d graduate to grown-up cheesecake, braving springform pans and water baths and the specter of cracks in the center, but when I found myself a few weeks ago with a little jar of fragrant culinary lavender and an excess of really good Vermont Creamery goat cheese, it was a barely dressed-up version of the good old Philadelphia recipe that I went back to.  I just couldn’t bring myself to stray!  The cheesecake is just the way I like it, familiar in all the right ways — silky, not the least bit dry or mealy, rich but not too sweet, and finished off with a buttery graham crust.  These are just the same as I remember them, except the goat cheese gives it a little bit of sass and a tangy edge, while a teaspoon of finely minced lavender cuts through the rich dairy just right and comes out pure in flavor and fragrantly floral. Topped with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of Greek yogurt or whipped creme fraiche, it’s at least a tad bit grown-up, but still a no-fuss homage to the classic I grew up with.  (And I even made the crust.)

Hope you all had the loveliest long weekends!

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

lavender goat cheese cheesecakes | two red bowls

Lavender goat cheese cheesecakes.

This yields four small cheesecakes in 4-inch cocottes, ramekins, or springform pans. If you wanted, you could likely bake it in one 9-inch pie pan (not a deep dish or springform) for about 50-55 minutes, or until the outer third is set and the center jiggles gently; you could also bake them in a cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners for about 25-30 minutes, for about 9 or so miniature cheesecakes. Cheesecake will keep at least a week.

Ingredients

  • for the crust:
  • 5 oz (8 sheets, or one pouch) graham crackers, or roughly 1 cup crumbs
  • 5 tbsp melted butter (replace up to 2 tbsp with olive oil, for extra oomph)
  • for the cheesecake:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, soft and at room temperature
  • 4 oz Vermont Creamery fresh goat cheese, soft and at room temperature
  • 4 oz Vermont Creamery creamy goat cheese (see Notes for substitutions)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp finely minced culinary lavender, to taste
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. To make the crust: Crush, blend, or process graham crackers until they form a fine crumb. Add the butter (and olive oil, if using), then stir or process again until the mixture forms the consistency of wet sand. Line four 8-ounce porcelain ramekins, cocottes, or mini springform pans with parchment paper, then divide the graham cracker mixture between the four and press firmly into the bottoms of each ramekin.
  2. For the filling, make sure all cheeses are soft and at room temperature. Combine all three cheeses and the sugar in a medium bowl and beat vigorously with a fork or an electric beater until smooth. Whisk in the lavender, a teaspoon or half-teaspoon at a time, tasting as you go to make sure it's not too strong. Be sure to very finely mince the lavender, since it can be bitter if left whole.
  3. Finally, whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well-incorporated. Divide the cream cheese mixture between the four ramekins.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is almost set but jiggles slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Using the parchment paper lining, lift the cheesecakes gently from the ramekins, place in a large airtight container, and chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 2-3 hours or overnight.
  5. If desired, you can drizzle a little honey over top and add some Greek yogurt or whipped cream -- or, if you want to make a Vermont Creamery day of it, some whipped creme fraiche. Enjoy!

Notes

I used half fresh goat cheese and half creamy goat cheese to approximate the consistency of cream cheese, but I imagine that you should be fine if you only have one or the other on hand. In addition, if you wanted to splurge for a more complex taste, I think Vermont Creamery fresh Crottin or any of their aged goat cheeses would be spectacular.

If you did want to bake these in a water bath, it's easy enough -- just place all the cocottes in a 9x13 glass dish and fill it with about an inch of water, then bake it in the glass dish. But they should be fine either way.

http://tworedbowls.com/2015/09/09/lavender-goat-cheese-cheesecakes/

44 comments

  1. says:

    September 9, 2015 at 6:14 am

    These will last a week – hilarious – I’d say about 15 minutes!
    Cynthia, these are fabulous and I love everything about the main flavours, goat cheese and lavender, only, I am constantly thinking, should there be some honey? Well, that’s for me to try out. Love the inspiration.

    Nicole

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 10, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Thank you so much, Nicole!!! You’re so right, honey is amazing on these! I drizzled a bit over mine and was in love. I bet it would be even better if subbed for some of the sugar.

  2. says:

    September 9, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I absolutely adore goats cheese, something I’ve been missing whilst pregnant. As these are baked, looks like I can indulge in my favourite cheese again. Thanks for the inspiration! Kate @foodiesagenda

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 10, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Ahhh, CONGRATS!! So exciting, Kate!! The no-goat-cheese notwithstanding 🙂 Thank you for the sweet words and hope you and your little one are doing wonderfully <3

  3. says:

    September 9, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Cynthia, you’ve just added a dangerous weapon in my baking arsenal: a how-to on making cheesecakes without springform pans or a bain marie! I love your use of goat cheese; I might adapt your recipe and attempt a citrus goat cheese cheesecake.

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 10, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Oh my gosh, a citrus goat cheese cheesecake would be SO amazing!!! I made a citrus goat cheese frosting a few years back that I still dream about — in cheesecake form it sounds even better. I can’t wait to see it if you try it!

      • says:

        September 10, 2015 at 10:07 am

        Your frosting recipe was actually what inspired my cheesecake idea! I experimented with and blogged about making carrot cake with citrus-chèvre glaze a few months ago. It was a ray of sunshine in my little corner of Cambridge! 🙂

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 10, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Halving it would be SO perfect! I was totally a walking cheesecake by the time I was through with these, baha. I hope you like them if you try them, Kristin! Thank you so much for the kind words!

  4. says:

    September 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Cheesecake game = SO STRONG! The combination of goat cheese, honey and lavender sounds absolutely DIVINE. And in mini form! I’ve been lusting after a set of those little Staub coquettes foreverrrr, they’re the cutest!

  5. says:

    September 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    The prettiest of all the cheesecakes, especially in this adorable mini form! And also: You were lightyears ahead of me before you made these–I still haven’t made a cheesecake in my life EVER, which is just plain crazy.

  6. says:

    September 10, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I am currently obsessed with goat cheese. I know that many people don’t like it because of its strong flavour, but I am in love and I would love to have it in a cheesecake form. Yours sounds heavenly. Need to try this!

  7. Sophie | The Green Life says:

    September 10, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    These are just way too cute. Lovely! And your photos are simply gorgeous. I LOVE the new background! <3

  8. says:

    September 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

    This sounds fantastic, Cynthia! I’m definitely with you on my first few cheesecake experiences: always with Philly cream cheese and pre-made graham crust! Extra points if I made the strawberry sauce from scratch. I’m thinking about doing some kind of fall cheesecake thing soon, thanks for the inspiration boo!

  9. says:

    September 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    All I can say is bravo, Cynthia! These are so extremely precious and silky in texture that I’m about to drool on my hubby’s ipad. Not good. I know that’s cliche but hey–I don’t lie! And I need to get me some cute little pans for baking…things just start to add up, you know? 😉

  10. says:

    September 14, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Holy cats…these look ridiculous. I made some lavender cupcakes this Summer with lavender essential oil and they were awesome! Cheesecake is such a weakness for me though, I think this is next on the list!

  11. laura says:

    September 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

    where did you get your dishes? i’ve been looking for some simple white/cream dishes and yours have just enough of a rustic flair and i love them!!

  12. says:

    September 14, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I found your blog a few months ago and I fell in love with your foods, especially the the recipes with local flair. Im really trying to work on my food photography and yours in stunning, any pointers for an aspiring food blogger. <3 Dani (Hawaii raised now in SF)

  13. says:

    September 16, 2015 at 12:52 am

    I already said this on IG but oh my do I love these cheesecakes! Pretty + cute as well as delicious as hell (I can tell that by just looking at them). And these pics – just plain gorgeous! Sending lots of love your way, lady. xx

  14. says:

    September 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Cynthia, you have SUCH a way with words (i.e. a way of making me want to run to the kitchen and whip these up right now!!) Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

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